Sabiha Sumar

Sabiha Sumar is a Pakistani filmmaker.

Born in Karachi, Sabiha Sumar studied Filmmaking and Political Science at Sarah Lawrence College in New York from 1980–83 and then read History and Political Thought at Cambridge University.

As an independent filmmaker, Sabiha Sumar has earned much acclaim for her films, which deal with political and social issues such as the effects of religious fundamentalism on society, and especially on women. Her first feature film, 'Silent Waters (Khamosh Pani)' has played in film festivals around the world. Silent Waters won the Golden Leopard award at the Locarno International Film Festival in 2003. Sabiha's first documentary, Who Will Cast the First Stone, about three women in prison in Pakistan under Islamic law won the Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco Film Festival in 1998. Her documentary films include Don't Ask Why (1999), For a Place under the Heavens (2003), On the Roofs of Delhi (2007), and Dinner with the President (2007).

Who Will Cast the First Stone led to the quashing of death-by-stoning sentence for Shahida Parveen, accused of adultery, while For a Place under the Heavens kicked off a critical debate on women wearing the hijab in the Muslim World. (8/14)

Available Title(s):


Dinner with the President


A film by Sabiha Sumar, 2007, 82 min, Color/BW

When Pakistani filmmaker Sabiha Sumar and co-director Sachithanandam Sathananthan request a dinner with President Musharraf as he’s facing impeachment charges in 2007, to their surprise the request is granted. They engage him in an enlightening discussion about the past and his vision for the country. Going beyond the dinner table, the filmmakers interview a wide…

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Azmaish: A Journey Through the Subcontinent


A film by Sabiha Sumar, 2017, 85 min, Color

Pakistani filmmaker Sabiha Sumar’s inspiring and probing documentary explores the complex relationship between India and her native country. Traveling the two nations, Sumar and Indian actress Kalki Koechlin witness radically changing political landscapes, their encounters giving rise to a personal and poetic search to uncover the voices of the silent majority, particularly those of women.…

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For a Place Under the Heavens


A film by Sabiha Sumar, 2003, 53 min, Color

Acclaimed director Sabiha Sumar, recent winner of the Golden Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival for her feature Silent Waters, offers an insightful perspective on Pakistan in this finely crafted personal film. Beginning with the creation of Pakistan in 1947, Sumar traces the relationship of Islam to the state in an effort to understand…

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Girls Around the World


A film by Sabiha Sumar, 1999, 222 min, Color

Produced by Brenda Parkerson, GIRLS AROUND THE WORLD is a collection of six extraordinary documentaries that examine the hopes, dreams and worldviews of a diverse group of 17-year-old girls from across the globe. This multidimensional series provides a critical cross-cultural perspective into the lives of young women, the concerns they share and the difficult decisions…

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